Kingdom Come - karmatens - ULTRAKILL (Video Game) [Archive of Our Own] (2024)

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Justice was blind. It was the virtue of ignorance—of naïvety. It deified an unwillingness to open one’s eyes.

That was why Minos could not have seen it coming.

He had been a good king. A righteous Judge. Perhaps a touch too merciful, in the end.

When Archangel Gabriel first gave the annunciation of his arrival, Minos was prepared to strike him down. Sharpened wits and finely honed rhetoric would do the job. Solemnly and sincerely, his people had done no wrong. Minos was certain in his ability to convince a being of endless grace.

But Gabriel, too, had a fine point: the tip of his blade. He called it Justice.

Sheathed at his side was Splendor—still stained with the blood of dear Sisyphus. The merciless subjugation of his Insurrection may have foretold Minos’s own fate. But Lust’s people were pious! Unlike the rampageous revolutionaries of Greed, they did not resent Heaven, they simply dissented. Minos knew what constituted true sin, for he was the Judge of Hell. He had meant to express disappointment in the Holy Council’s misinterpretation of his reign.

Perhaps they could have met in the middle, had Minos managed even a word.

The Judge of Hell had been sentenced to death, only for his executioner to blindly assume the role of Justice. Minos became a prisoner of his own body—though the flesh that confined him was not his own. He served his sentence in a work of Heaven’s own architects: a grotesque, grinning edifice of gore, held somewhere in superposition between Gluttony and the stomach of his own Corpse.

Then came the decay.

Serpents infested his innards. His blinded eyes were eaten away—and suddenly, Minos could see. Parasites puppeted his titanic Corpse into a trance: pursue, punish, repeat. Heaven demanded repentance from the Damned, and Minos ensured it. He had always been dutiful with his work. His body crushed buildings. His hands tore limbs. Minos chewed the heads off his Children.

Parasitized, Minos could only watch his city die. Halcyon days began to blur into to a distant daze, hazy with afterimages of neon filament—his former firmament. At some point, he stopped seeing. Rage blinded Minos. He realized then that pacifism was passivity.

Or perhaps he should have spoken sooner.

King Minos once made a decree: All love is pure under the all-loving Lord, absent may He be.

There was no time more opportune. The Father had taken his leaving from the firmament above. Heaven no longer had eyes to see down to Hell, and for the sake of Man, Minos was more than willing to turn a blind eye. As the Judge of Hell, he served his duties of damnation diligently, yes—but Minos was well aware why he had not been allowed past the pearly gates in the first place:

Minos loved Mankind.

And so many so-called sinners had been damned to Lust for the same. Truly, their only crime was passion. Minos knew it was not Just. Earthly desires were to be expected of Earth! He had hoped to one day hold trial in the High Court of Heaven, intending to talk reason into Lord Himself; they, too, were His Children—and Heaven was always in need of more Virtues, was it not?

But now He was gone. The Holy Father would never take them home, never embrace them in His arms. The throne was empty in the Kingdom of God.

So Minos crowned himself philosopher-king. He did not plan to usurp Heaven’s throne, of course; love could conquer all, but no militia alive could surmount an army of angels, and Minos was uninterested in organizing an uprising of the undead. (Sisyphus of Greed was so insistent on trying—Minos found him endearing.) No, they had all suffered long enough. Lust would become a Kingdom of Man: a home for the Children the Lord had abandoned.

In Hell, a Heaven on Earth.

The eschaton was easier to immanentize than one might imagine. Lust was not built in one day, but the Damned were eager to do something with their eternal time. They worked ardently, dark days into endless nights. Of course they were passionate people—they had been damned to Lust! Still, Minos upkept careful labor regulations; breaks were mandated. His denizens—his adopted Children—had been windswept and lost, but guided by the benevolent hand of Order, they began to build beds and places to call home. Minos was a shepherd of the people; the sinew of the Flesh.

Expeditions were made to the lower layers to mine for materials. Particularly amenable Ferrymen aided in the safe refuge of those trapped in Limbo, and their obsession with obol made mercantile interests inevitable. Industrialization took hold. For the first time in eternity, the afterlife was livable.

Thus began the Lust Renaissance.

The sparks of civilization became subway systems and cold-cathode light. The whipping winds were transformed by turbines into electricity. Lust flourished in florescence: neon lights lined the streets. Critics decried it as gaudy, glowy ersatz, worse than any punishment previously endured—indeed, Lust was prosperous enough to foster even the aesthetically pretentious. Hushed whispers demanded a stop to the mad king responsible. Minos could not help himself; revelry was his vice, and in life, he had never beheld such brilliant hues. Critics more compassionate (and contemporary) called it “camp”.

When the Council took control, it became clear Lust would not be safe from their watching eyes. Minos—begrudgingly—outlawed exhibitionism. A Judge of Hell should know well when to inhibit his own inclinations. The preservation of Order preceded all else. So long as Minos abided by the law of Heaven, Lust surely had exemption from its fury. It was only Just.

War broke out in Greed. The Sisyphean Insurrection began, and Heaven and Hell had never so closely eclipsed.

Minos remained impartial. He refused to be swayed by the wages of war—despite the protests of his people. Peace would be kept, no matter the cost. Minos saw that the sentiments that inspired his city were unsustainable. Sanctions were put in place. Immigration from the lower layers of Hell had always been prohibited, so refugees from Greed were denied. In a city of sin, acts of sacrilege became punishable by law. To be stifled was to be kept safe. In matters of life or death, Minos served the axiomatic interests of authority: Heaven’s empyrean imperium. Nothing came before Order.

The day came when Sisyphus was slain. How Minos would miss their occasions of volatile correspondence; in the quiet that followed, he learned to long for Sisyphus’s virulent spite, his virile passion, and—in debate—the absurd proportions of his fallacies. Their strained relations had been maintained strictly for the sake of diplomacy. No, Minos never truly loved him. Never.

The protests died with him. The city became quiet. It was not a vigil—Minos had ordered them silenced.

Peace was like a purgatory.

Minos would spend the rest of his days justifying it to himself. He had done what he needed to. Chaos had been corralled, ordained into Order, and Lust still stood, and his Children were safe. And God—the skyline was always so beautiful. Was it not? Minos saw the heavens from the seat of his throne. He was content. His people had found salvation in civilization. The neon lights were blinding, but in this endless dark, they became a promise: the spirit of Man would burn forever brilliantly.

There Minos stood. Across him, corpses basked in neon.

From an entombment of flesh he had escaped, an emergence bloody as the womb. In this abruption, Minos had been birthed anew. He had never felt more alive. Not in life, not in death.

His liberator was a machine, steely and cyclopean. It had freed him from his prison of flesh, not in the interest of retribution or revolution, but as an arbitrary act in its uncaring conquest. Mere bloodthirst. Ravenous, mindless, acting only upon orders unseen—Minos found it all too familiar.

The parasites that controlled the Corpse had been slain by this very machine. Emerging from the gut of Gluttony, he saw that some still squirmed between its teeth. They wriggled excitedly towards him. Minos tried not to look. He stepped out onto an unrecognizable street.

The tempest stormed all the same. Tumultuous winds blew over Minos’s bare body. Mechanical carcasses had been scattered along the concrete, their remains left as little more than scrap metal. Husks lay in disturbing states of exsanguination. Industrial machinery hummed in quiescence.

Minos, grotesque and hale, had never walked the streets of his city—not at this scale. His immense Husk meant he could never manage more than a limb inside most buildings. (He found similar trouble in the bedroom.) But this body, cold and pale; white, like the Moon, was his own. Not a hulking Husk, not a Corpse parasitized into a parody of life. Minos could only pray this one would last as he wandered somewhere past the industrial parks.

The spacial relativism of Hell made even the comforts of material consistency a luxury—and what luxuria Lust was. Through civilization, it had undergone a kind of concretization. Unlike the twisting, internally inconsistent intestinal tracts of Gluttony, Lust was tangible: structurally sound. The city, ceaseless in its growth, induced a sort of infrastructural sickness to the Hell superorganism, localized to its second layer. It was a cancer that Hell could not combat nor rearrange. The Renaissance had been an act of reclamation.

Minos identified this area as Lust’s commercial heart: a strictly figurative downtown, since cardinal directions did not tend to apply to Hell. Not that they mattered—really, every district was the red-light district. Neon-lit marquees illuminated advertisem*nts for cybernetic salons and trinket shops. In death, the Damned had been stripped of their bodies, belongings, even basic directions. Commodities, identities: Lust allowed them to regain what they had lost. Was there not good in material goods?

So much still stood, despite it all. Restless, Minos gazed up to the skyscrapers above, and the tempest swept a crinkled flier to his feet: pro-monarchy propaganda, ordered by Minos during the last days of Lust. He spotted a subway schedule farther away. He distantly wondered if they remained operable.

Something rumbled beneath the streets. It did not sound like public transit.

Minos tried to frown, only to find his face firm and unmoving, and that the muscles that should contort his mouth were conspicuously absent. He palmed cluelessly at his cheek. Had he lost the capacity to care? Minos hoped not. At this, he attempted to project a grimace—or a sob, or…

Just to see that he still could, Minos quietly announced, “I do not have a mouth.” He suppressed the urge to scream.

Perhaps it had something to do with the sword Gabriel had plunged past his lips. Though he did not dare find a reflection to prove it, Minos became keenly aware that his face had been carved into an abyss. No face, no city, no people. So little was left of the old king. Though the serpents he had used to count sins as the Judge were still on his arms, coiled and asleep—of course the little monstrosities had not left him.

Minos sighed, placidly petting the scaly head of one that had awoken. They both reared and hissed.

“Feisty beasts,” he scolded. Minos shook his head admonishingly to shush them. And still! The serpents probed their sibilating heads to the skies, flicked their forked tongues—and tasted sin.

The tempest was disquietingly still. Minos realized, then, that Lust’s windstorms had become a gentle breeze: warm and heavenly.

He spotted a set of wings.

Delightful.

Gliding in on the gales was Gabriel—his halo aglow, feathers flickering blue. Above the streets he flew, there was once life: bustling business, cacophonic camaraderies, lovers teasing and courting under the eternal night. And now there was nothing. These absences helped amplify his voice, when he began to speak. Gabriel, looming above the air, solemnly declared:

“… What the actual hell?”

He held a hand over his helmet like a visor, peering past the dark. As Minos approached, he paused, levitating limply in place. It seemed the sparks of recognition had yet to reach him.

Minos breathed in deep.

“Will of God,” he began.

Gabriel had already formed a weapon in his hand.

“For how long have thy crimes been left unaccounted?” And how long had Minos waited for this moment? “O Righteous Hand—too long. I have tried thy case in the dreams of my sleepless death and ruled but one verdict: Guilty.” Minos savored the words that left his lips: “O, Gabriel,” he recited, “now dawns thy reckoning, and thy gore shall glisten before the temples of—”

A thrown spear sank into his face. Or lack thereof. Minos gurgled incomprehensibly, his hands scrambling to wrench it free from his abyssal maw. It fell with a horrible squelch. Black ooze dripped from the orifice. Groaning, Minos wiped his chin with the back of his wrist.

“Minos,” Gabriel spoke, “return at once to your rightful imprisonment, as ordered by the Will of God. Let this be your final warning, lest you wish to enter your third afterlife.”

The empty streets echoed his equally empty threat. His voice was just as Minos remembered it: every word an annunciation, clarion calls concealing an abysmally deep-rooted idiocy.

Minos crept closer, each stride evenly spaced. He said, “I shall not.”

Gabriel did not meaningfully react. His wings carried him higher so that he could look down on Minos with increasing disdain.

“Do not approach me,” spoke Gabriel. Another spear materialized in his hand. “Return, now, in the name of the Holy Father. Only then I will return your favor of pacifism.”

Vexation was most of what Minos could muster—did Gabriel’s ignorance extend to an unknowing of why his soul had been imprisoned? Did he not know how dearly Minos dreamed of flinging his fists through the dense mass of lead that constituted his skull?

“My departure would be a mercy unto thee.” Pointing a condemning finger forward, Minos cried, “Thou wilt know my mercy no longer!”

The angel appeared more impatient than outraged, arms insolently crossed. “Who aided in your escape? I’m certain your ‘Children’ are all dead. Excluding—”

A heavy fist dented Gabriel’s head. He recoiled into the air, yelping like a kicked dog.

Minos still did not expect his body to move the way that it did—faster than light. How had he reached Gabriel? He had won his duel with the steely thing that freed him, yes, but Minos hardly understood the extents nor physics of his newfound prime. He had but one certainty: that Gabriel would fall by his fists.

“The bringer of my liberation? ’Twas a mindless soldier of steel,” said Minos, “no more mindless than thee.”

Further retreating, Gabriel’s wings fluttered pitifully faster. “The machine,” he muttered. He flew down in a flash of light, spear striking towards Minos’s shoulder. “Where is it?”

Minos scoffed, dodging to his left. “It matters not.”

“Speak.” Gabriel jabbed the point of his spear into his chest. “Where is it?”

His insistence had caught Minos off-guard. The weapon seared his skin as he wrestled it away, shouting, “It matters not! Thy fates shall soon be shared!”

Gabriel faltered. Minos took the opening, shoving the spear backwards—the hilt slammed into his stomach. Gabriel’s limpid wings lost balance, and his levitation turned to a turbulent landing. He choked when he tried to say:

“What?”

Returning to the air, Gabriel flew frantically. He vanished in a flash of light, and the air crackled. Minos noted the smell of ozone. He braced himself—yet he hardly saw it coming.

The angel dropped down like a comet and divebombed from behind.

“You—you f*ckER!” shrieked Gabriel.

He had erupted crimson red. Radiant rage turned his wings gold—he bashed his helmet against Minos’s back and gored him with his halo. Justice and Splendor, both of them unsheathed, fought with the intent to kill.

“That was my only chance, my only—” His voice cracked. “I was meant to end the machine!”

Rage or insanity, Minos had never seen an angel more mad. Back on his feet, evading a thrashing flurry of metal, Minos stood on the sidelines of an adjacent street. He bemusedly dodged the twin blades flying towards him, just to watch.

“COME ON!” Gabriel screamed. “FIGHT ME—YOU MAN-whor*!”

Approaching him directly could be a death sentence. But Minos had only his fists—and his serpents, he supposed. Gabriel was notably smaller than him. Fluttering madly as he did, the sylphic thing made a nigh impossible target. Minos imagined pinning him like a butterfly.

Then an impossible weight crushed down on Gabriel. Gabriel snarled, kicking and flailing, struggling against the force that fixed him to asphalt. He then managed to thrash himself free—but Minos had not subdued him. He still stood across the street.

Spotlights beamed down on Gabriel.

In the pale light, he was perfect. Gabriel existed as a consummate unification of form and function. He was, in the purest sense, perfection. To behold him was to be overcome with utmost, tortuous certainty that beauty was an absolute principle, and that precise configurations of these principles governed all that was Good. It was to understand, innately, that this was the Truth, and that nothing else ever could be. His shining armor was not his only aegis—no, Gabriel was imperviable, because his protection came as a compulsory pursuit. Gabriel was glory and purity and masculinity. Beneath his armor was softness and skin. Bloodstained and beautiful—who could kill something like him?

The suffusive light of a storefront flickered.

Aesthetics were an effective façade. The unpalatable evils of Heaven were never just concealed with palatable coats of paint; rather, they were venerated through visual juxtaposition with the degenerate. The destruction Gabriel wrought was always elegant—clean cuts and symbolically severed heads. Then, he left, before the decay set in. No one was left to bury the bodies.

Gabriel looked up.

The Corpse stared.

What did it see with its glowing eyes? Its affixed gaze followed Gabriel. Serpents seethed inside—they sensed something that Minos had not. Sin. This angel had been exiled from the Kingdom of God. A righteous judgement, Minos thought.

The winds of the tempest screamed. Gabriel’s wings folded over from the force, and the tossing and turning gales threw his balance off. The Corpse swung; its palm smacked him against a skyscraper. Did Minos need even to fight? Heaven and Hell itself seemed intent on delivering the angel’s due punishment.

Gabriel, enraged, faced Minos once more. Behind him: the Corpse. The eyes he had once left blind were now blinding beacons of light. Beneath them, Gabriel turned to stone. Minos grabbed his wrist—and he froze.

He disarmed him, first. Then he beat him until he did not move.

Gabriel had been subdued. His punishment had been dealt. Distantly, the Corpse collapsed, and Minos let it die. Their bodies alike lay limp on the streets of Lust. He turned to walk away from both.

Behind him, a gloved hand reached to heaven. Gabriel gurgled vaguely.

“Succumb to death, Gabriel.” He offered the angel one last look of revulsion. “Thy defeat is earned. Accept it. Fly home to the warm arms of thy Father, if He is merciful.”

The winds howled, and Gabriel shivered. His breath was unsteady; his helmeted head swayed faintly back and forth. Hand shaking, Gabriel flexed his grip against the ground. Then his arm reached—his right arm reached for—

Minos strangled his wrist as it reached for Justice.

“No.”

Blurred by adrenaline, the neon lights burned brighter. Minos held his grip strong. He stretched his shoulder forward, leveraging only enough force to lever Gabriel’s wrist to the ground.

“Submit,” he said.

A serpent hissed at Gabriel from his arm. Minos pressed down until the angel ended his resistance.

“Good.”

Pinned in place, Gabriel gave a pitchy whine.

Minos knew well how to deliver judgement. For how long had he been the Judge of Hell? Centuries spent in exegesis had him well prepared. Justice was a pattern: a carefully procured balance of what could be forgiven and what could not—an achievable state of perfect Order.

“End me,” interrupted Gabriel, bruised and bleeding. “End it all.”

Yet it was hard to call this due process. Gabriel’s case had been tried on a court of asphalt and fists. In his afterlife, Minos had thought himself a merciful Judge: he kept his eyes blind to be free of bias, his judgements adhering impartially to the doctrine of Heaven. But his unlooking eyes had been taken, his blindfold removed at last, and now?—he saw clearly. For his immortal crimes, Gabriel’s atonement would come in death alone. And yet he was still alive.

Gabriel lifted his neck weakly. He panted, “Come on.”

Minos suspended his gaze on the half-dead angel. He did not deserve mercy, nor redemption—neither peace nor dignity in death. Did he deserve the freedom of finality, even? To be liberated from his bruised, bleeding body? Wings flat against the ground, he resembled a swatted fly. Disgust was most of what Minos could muster.

He muttered, almost amazed, “What has become of thee, Gabriel?”

Gabriel did not respond. His hidden gaze settled askance, helmet tilted ajar on his neck. As if he were playing dead—as if he thought Heaven might carry him home.

“Gabriel, Archangel: you, who slew my Children, who razed my kingdom to rubble, who made a weapon of mine own Corpse! You, reduced to this?”

He said, “Yy… yes.”

“Thy burning spirit, thine arrogance and ego, all snuffed to cinders,” Minos hissed. “Pathetic.”

Gabriel’s throat whined its agreement: a dismal sound, like a dying animal.

It was fascinating. Never before had Minos felt such hatred. He had expected to delight in this; O, how Gabriel’s imagined gore would glisten. How he would revel once more! But that which he spilled began to dry, and how hideously its hues dulled the pavement. His city did not deserve to be besmirched by blood. It never did.

He threw his hands around Gabriel’s throat, instead.

Arms outstretched, vitriol coursed through his taut veins. Gabriel sputtered and choked, wings flapping frantically behind him as Minos riveted his hands around his neck. His fists had halfway squeezed into a fleshy garrote before Gabriel’s strangled gasps suddenly took a resemblance to words. It was amusing, darkly. Did he truly expect to be offered the simple mercy Minos himself had been refused?

Damn his virtues.

Shoved onto his back, Gabriel gasped for breath. His bruised neck strained up to speak.

“Please,” Gabriel panted. “After me. Climb the stairs of Heaven. Line its steps with gore.” Breathlessly: “Judge, jury, executioner.”

Minos took a moment of pause. “What war I wage shall be waged not for thee.”

“I don’t care,” he said. “Just—kill them.”

If he wished to send a message in death, Gabriel himself was surely the more suitable messenger angel. He was a skilled correspondent in the medium of murder, truly. Gabriel’s bloodshed was a covenant: he had served as the Lord’s simultaneous attack and lap dog. In Hell, he obeyed his sanguinary orders; to Heaven, he returned, bloodied and bloated by honeyed praise. The best and brightest of all angels. God’s good boy. But this violence would hardly be venerable—no, the Father would surely not appreciate having the halls of Heaven hung with viscera, however long it may take Him to come home. What had changed? What could compel dear, devout Gabriel to rebel?

Serpents slithered across Minos’s arms, restless. Their tongues tasted sin, and they had been starved after centuries of hibernation. A fellow Judge of Hell could surely put his colleague to trial.

At Gabriel, the abyss stared—void of compassion. This emptiness compelled confession; the longer left without words, the more its vacancy ached, until Gabriel admitted his voice to the empty air.

“I have… hours left to live,” he finally said. A generous overestimation, thought Minos. “The Holy Light has been ripped from my body. And I’m not getting it back. Not after… this.”

Head tipped back, Gabriel erupted with dumb laughter.

“I can—” His throat bobbed. “I can taste my blood.” His fingers sweeped at his bleeding stomach. He said, strangely soft, “I’m going to die.”

Minos rarely found himself without words, for better or for worse. Yet now he strained to speak.

Sympathy was not the right word—but neither was apathy. Minos, unfortunately, felt pity. Empathy? Not even the Father’s favorite angel had been spared from the atrocities of Heaven and its fascistic reign. Gabriel, fallen freshly from above, had no time to grieve what he had lost, even less to grapple with why. He was left to bleed out on the asphalt, broken and laughing dementedly. Perhaps Minos had applied too much asphyxiation. Maybe too little.

“Thou… art eager to meet fate,” he eventually said.

Gabriel’s bloodstained body lay supine: limp, disquietingly pliant. A total acceptance and acquiescence to the cold hands of death. Between shaky breaths, he gazed up to the heavens. The tips of his wings became tinged with gold; gilded, as if Midas had touched each feather. There was a blasphemous beauty about the way he dripped with blood. At his hips were his twin blades, sheathed. Minos reached with his sword arm.

Could a beheading be beautiful? Poetic justice was all Minos had left.

That, and Justice. Gabriel’s throat bobbed. Minos had brought it to his neck. A strangled sound was suppressed behind his helmet—a vaguely voiced rumble. The blade bit into his flesh. Gabriel lifted his gaze, staring deep. Minos paused in anticipation for whatever pithy statement of disdain Gabriel would make into his eulogy; optimistically, an apologybut neither came. All he heard was heavy breathing. In the cold air, clouds of condensation fogged from his helm.

Finally:“F—f*ck it.”

Voice rough, throat destroyed, Gabriel clunked his head against the ground. Laughter burst from his lips.

He had never been the most eloquent angel. Gabriel’s arrogant annunciations were always well-enunciated, but ultimately said little. Minos had been foolish to believe he could talk Justice back into its sheath so many centuries ago. Now, there was nothing left to say, and Gabriel knew not to try the same. Not that he would ever think to. Astonishing acts of violence, thrashing fits of rage: Minos was well aware that Gabriel worked in action—not words.

And the way his hips stirred spoke for itself.

Gabriel pressed his body against him. And Minos was speechless.

A moment of agonizing awareness. Minos felt each and every convergence of contact between their intertwined bodies. He was positioned just above Gabriel’s lap, straddling his exposed waist, his arm brushing against his armor, blade against his neck. He felt the steel reverberate in his hand. Gabriel spoke—and Minos could not hear the sound. The pounding pulse in his head had drowned it out.

The speech of Minos’s own mind was similarly inaudible: rhetoric-ridden reverberations of thought resounded into meaningless recursion. But he heard the bright-red beat of adrenaline clearly. Minos stared holes into Gabriel’s helmet. His head had been tipped back—looking away, likely. Too eager for the imminent release of death to know that he had not yet died.

Gabriel pushed his hips up higher. He made a sound Minos chose not to hear.

Some sort of ecstasy: what else could it be? Gabriel writhed against him, enraptured, as if thrust into the throes of communion. Did he see himself as a sufferer—a saint imminent to transcend? Or did divine revelation strike him? Perhaps this was the rapture of Just retribution. If not that, asphyxiation was known to induce euphoria; its erotic associations were only incidental. An unperverted ecstasy. (Innocent until proven guilty.) Auxiliary functions of the irrational flesh—arbitrary yet explicable. Exonerable.

That, or the Righteous Hand was as underhanded as Minos remembered.

There could be no act of desperation more depraved. Even worse, it had worked. Minos had wavered. Gabriel cast his faith aside, debased himself before him—and for what? To cling to life a few moments longer? To retaliate? To…

Minos’s absent eyes judged his every move. Moments passed. Gabriel lifted his head impatiently, as if his grotesque ecstasy of anticipation had ended unfulfilled. His hidden gaze met Minos. He saw his hesitation. He did nothing.

He whispered, “Well?” The heat in his voice was unmistakable.

“Thou—” Minos stammered, “Thou art mad.”

Gabriel nuzzled his neck against the blade. “Plunge it into me,” he said, “as I did to you.”

Minos felt his sword arm shake.

“This is not right.”

“Hurry up, then,” Gabriel spoke, because his throat had still not been slit. “Rectify my wrongs.”

Unreasonable. Outrageous and unconscionable. This was what ended his reign? An angel that acted only on instinct. Infuriating. Utterly unprincipled, and so unlike Minos. The two-horse charioteer: a philosopher-king erected his principles firm, as the city, like the soul, necessitated control—not suppression, but careful regulation of the lower orders; the body’s basal, carnal desires. Minos could control Lust. He could control himself.

Gabriel’s lap moved mindlessly against his. “Come on.”

Yet the Lord’s inexorable laws ignored legislation. Reason always died in the face of the fatally unreasonable, and with it, all good judgement. History and Hell were an eternal, infernal cycle of consequences that never seemed to deter their causes.

“Ruin me.”

An all-too-tender hand touched Gabriel’s waist. A stuttered breath lifted his breastplate. Justice clattered to the ground. Lust, of course, ruled its king.

Its cold winds swept over their sweat-drenched bodies. Gabriel shuddered. Minos’s abyss stared unceasingly. He certainly did not trust Gabriel, but when his body began to fidget beneath him, Minos lifted himself off and freed his wrist. Ever the egalitarian, he ensured each were equally vulnerable. One hand still hovered over the hilt of Justice. The other felt the warm skin of what was once its wielder.

Gabriel, meanwhile, grabbed for his belt, grunting, near-mad as he wrestled it off himself. “Finally,” he groaned, voice rough. “Force your sinful wants on me.”

Minos rescinded his touch. “Thy need runs deeper than mine.”

“Don’t deceive me.” Gabriel slung an arm over Minos’s shoulder and pulled him back. “I know what you are,” he said. “You dress your indecency in palatable pathos and heretic sentimentality, but you cannot hide it. No, you can’t hide… that indecent thing, hanging between your—”

Serpents hissed incessantly; this time, at Minos. In his inner Garden of Eden, Minos idly ate the Fruit of Knowledge.

Right. He had awoken bare.

Gabriel swallowed audibly. “The… the size is a sign of unintelligence.”

In silence, Minos raised a question to the absent Lord: what compelled Him to create an angel utterly incorrigible? No answer came.

For far too long, Gabriel’s gaze lingered on Minos’s bare body. He looked up, then looked away, holding his breath. He leaned up on his elbows. A soft, snide chuckle was Minos’s only warning.

Gabriel’s fingers found the hem of his skirt. Bated breath caught in Minos’s beating chest. He could not justify the way he stared as the fabric began to lift. Slowly, deliberately, Gabriel revealed himself. Thick, strong thighs rubbed together, lavish framing for what came at their apex: his slick c*nt, skin bare and sweating, glistening—taunting Minos’s unmoving gaze.

Damn his vices.

Fists clenched, legs sore with strain, Minos knelt wordlessly over his beloathed. In a body cold as death, he was hot with desire. He grabbed roughly at Gabriel’s hips, hiked his skirt up higher, then shoved himself between his legs. Minos leaned in. From the hollow hole in his head, hot, perverse breath warmed Gabriel’s exposed neck.

“Th—that’s right. Like the lecher you are.” He smothered a sound into his helm. “Your perversity ends for nothing.”

Loomed over by Minos’s body, Gabriel surely knew the way his heart thundered. Of course he did; his chest was translucent. How long had Minos endured isolation, stuck in solitude, no lover to sink himself into? He longed to feel warm flesh—flesh that did not constitute his grotesque prison, for once. (It was not the fairest lover.)

But the shackles of Heaven had expansed millennia longer, surely. Gabriel appeared faint; the moment Minos allowed him the touch of his hands, he had become meek and pliant. Although he had since found considerable conflict within his faith, Minos was once a pious man. The unthinkably obscene act of deflowering one of the Lord’s own was a sin he surely would have judged unsuitable for naught but Hell’s most dismal depths. To maculate the sacrosanct, to defile an innocent angel…

“Are—are you going to f*ck me, or just stroke yourself?”

Precum leaked down onto Gabriel’s thigh. Minos had been stroking himself for… an indeterminate amount of time. He countered, “Thy desperation is unbecoming.”

No, Gabriel was innocent of nothing; his profane body plead guilty. Heaven was absent in all but the soft curves of his hips—and Lord, what lie between them. Golden filigree detailed his dark skin like delicate ribbons, snaking from his stomach down to his thighs, framing his impatiently dripping c*nt. Angels were made to be sexless, servile things, full of virtue and free of desire, but if even they were not exempt of the wanting confines of the Flesh—or was Gabriel unique in this regard?—then the Lord’s own aberrances were best left unspoken. One must wonder why He would sculpt so meticulously.

“Pathetic,” whispered Minos. His erection throbbed against Gabriel’s bare skin. “Legs spread wide like a whor*.”

Gabriel squeezed them together. “Nn… no,” he grunted, trapping Minos’s co*ck between his thick, firm thighs. “They’re not.”

Damnable angel. Minos grabbed Gabriel under the knees, folded his legs forward, then braced his body against him. His shaft slipped easily in and out from Gabriel’s sweat-soaked thighs as he slid against his c*nt, rubbing on his stiff, straining cl*t. The head of his co*ck kept being covered, brushing repeatedly against his skirt—groaning, Gabriel tugged it out of the way, then crossed his arms. He frustratedly bucked his hips, forcing their erections to frot harder.

Gabriel said, “Coitus interfemoris—that is still sodomy, you know.”

διαμηρίζειν[diamērizein: Intercrural sex, “to do between the thighs”.]? Indeed,” replied Minos, “thou mayest recall how both my kingdoms had been condemned on similar such accusations?”

Gabriel responded with an indistinct grunt.

“Certainly thou wouldst have made a welcome citizen.”

A pathetic sound escaped his throat. “Ff… f*ck you.” His hips moved erratically, irrationally, as he tried and failed to rationalize this to himself.

“Mind thy language,” Minos warned. (Gabriel proceeded to whisper profanities in Latin.)

The friction was dizzying. Minos forced his legs lower to f*ck his thighs faster. A hand jumped down to grope Gabriel’s ass between increasingly shaky thrusts. His c*nt had become maddeningly wet; lewd slapping joined soft, angelic moans. It slicked his co*ck—enough for it to slip out from his thighs, leaving Minos to f*ck dumbly against his leg. He hissed, grabbing hold of his shaft.

“Perverse brat,” Minos chided. He slipped his co*ck back between Gabriel’s thighs and guided it to his c*nt.

It caught against the entrance. Gabriel held his breath.

Clarity—for the smallest, most fleeting moment—took hold of Minos. What in God’s name was he doing?

Minos paused. His heart pounded in his see-through chest. Blood beat through his veins. Gently, he pressed up against Gabriel, stroking his co*ck, whispering ardently, “Let me.”

He teased the tight entrance of his c*nt, feeling it kiss and squeeze against the tip.

“F-fine,” said Gabriel, throwing his forearm over his helmet. He spread his legs. “Go ahead.” His voice was rough. “Debauch me more than you already—hh-ha—”

He broke off into a whimper when the head pushed in.

Tight. Minos went thoughtless—his mind collapsed into frenzied chants of tight, tight, tight. A hand reflexively stroked Gabriel’s tensed stomach as his vision seared white, coaxing him to relax; pleading to be taken deeper. Gabriel twitched his wings, whining, whispering obscenities.

“f*ck me,” he demanded. “Fhh—come on…” Gabriel curled his legs around Minos—then pulled him deep.

He sank in so easily. Gabriel was riled, aroused—wanting. His soaked c*nt took him fully, tight and hot. Minos gave a shallow thrust, breathing deep, wrestling down the heady fog of arousal that already threatened to take him.

“O, Gabriel…” He pulled back, petting the sides of his soft waist.

Gabriel was delirious. “Inside me,” he said stupidly. “It—it’s inside me.”

His body was like an abyss. f*cking Gabriel felt like being swallowed whole.

Minos started slowly. Slow enough to pretend he could still stop. Lord, help him, it was too gratifying to see Gabriel like this: devastated by his touch, eager to take him, glowing bright under Lust’s lurid thrall. His lascivious body held him like a lover’s tight embrace, pushing back against Minos with every thrust of his hips. Gabriel, in all his imperfections, fit perfectly around him.

Something panged in Minos’s body. He could not identify the feeling—but it was something sharp. Fear? Maybe guilt? No, surely not. Lust was not sin, Minos reminded himself. Lust was pure, sex was divine, angels were beautiful, and their flesh felt good to f*ck.

Gabriel rocked his hips and pushed back on him. He made his ecstasy evident with small, unpracticed moans, and for the first time in what felt like an eternity, Minos was once again himself. This body was his own. The stamina and strength he knew in life had returned tenfold—he was in complete control. The muscle memory came back quickly. Minos had always prided himself on pleasing his lovers, putting them first. He f*cked into Gabriel and ignored what his phantom face remembered.

“Defiled, violated, profaned,” Gabriel chanted, each word pronounced with disturbing delight. His bruised, bloodstained body writhed. “It feels—ha ha, it feels… good.” Gabriel’s voice quietly cracked under the weight of the words. His movements were intimately familiar—already, he was close.

“Deprived thing.” Minos panted, “Depraved thing.”

A heavenly sound escaped the angel’s throat—what a blessing that it had been left unslit. Minos far preferred this over his snippy sermonizing. If only Gabriel had a mouth to offer. A thick co*ck down his throat would do wonders in keeping him quiet.

“H-harder.” Voice shaking, Gabriel demanded, “Defile me harder.”

The beating drone of lust drowned out the voice of Minos’s conscience. His sickest perversities overtook him—how gratifying it felt to wrest an angel’s innocence, to steal the virginity of Heaven’s brightest, to acquiesce to his image: one of a debaucher, dumb and drunk on depravity. It was how Gabriel saw him, certainly. Minos f*cked him furiously. The angel’s armor clinked with the arching of his back, clashing rhythmically against the ground.

“Oh—oh my God,” Gabriel moaned, voice lilting higher. “Oh, oh God—!”

He threw his arms around Minos, whining, helplessly cramming himself on his co*ck. His wings seared white—the climax hit him hard. Head slammed back with a clank, Gabriel choked out heavy, halted moans, one hand held over his helmet, the other rushing down to touch himself. Devastated by desire, empty of all but ecstasy, he was beautiful. Unfairly beautiful. Minos’s co*ck throbbed angrily, left without release. He slowed himself to f*ck Gabriel through his throes of pleasure. He felt himself shaking—heart pounding, and then aching.

The scene sprawled out before him was almost familiar. Absent were the faux flowers and synthetic sheets, bodies basking in neon as his forked tongue spoke sweet nothings—vows of dedication, promises of a better future, forever unfulfilled. But beneath Minos was something beautiful, body slumped and spent. Something soft and made of flesh.

Despair, disdain, desire. Which was it? Minos failed to think straight. His arms instinctively embraced Gabriel. He slipped deeper inside without thinking.

Gabriel sat up slow and dazedly, body still surging with ecstasy.

“… Please,” he whispered.

Something horrible seized Minos’s heart. Gabriel’s voice was ruinous, rough with desperation. Gingerly, Minos cupped his helmet, tilting up his chin. Distantly, wishing either of them had the eyes to look at each other.

Gabriel craned his neck. He wrestled Minos’s arm away with an offended grunt. His c*nt clenched tight around him—less like a lover’s embrace, more like a guillotine.

“Don’t stop.”

“Ggh—” Minos barely pulled back. “Relax, Gabriel.”

The angel, insatiable, swung a leg around Minos’s waist. “I said, don’t stop.” He kicked at Minos’s sides, raring either to urge or enrage him. “Don’t stop, don’t—oh, f-f*ck—”

It no longer mattered. Minos f*cked him eagerly, chasing the release he had been denied. He grabbed hold of Gabriel’s lounging leg, stroking a thumb along his calves—strong, yet delicate, like a dancer’s. What a glorious work Gabriel was. Yet the Lord had left him incomplete, unfulfilled, forever reaching for an absolution He had hidden from reach. The angel did not have long left. Would Gabriel—this flawed, beautiful thing—die ashamed of his desires? No, surely not. Minos could not have that happen.

He cleared his throat and began to slow.

“Lust—our glorious ecstasy, Gabriel—is inextricable from the spirit of Man,” Minos preached. “To reject thy Body is to reject the Lord; to find flaw in His Flawless Design.”

Did Minos himself believe this? No, not entirely—the absent Father was fallible, fickle, and prone to creating errant angels. After his second death, Minos did not stake much in God’s own judgement. Still, in ecumenical arguments, the Image of God could be a compelling fallacy and façade, either integrating or ignoring the many disfigurements that must have marred Him. (Perhaps Gabriel simply sought the presence of a powerful patriarch, imperfect as He may be.) It would be foolish to argue against an angel’s own faith, anyway.

“I… will not hear your heresy,” Gabriel said, looking away. “Lust is sin, and you are a sinner.”

He eyed the angel’s moving hips. “And thou art without lust?”

“You’re the one f*cking me. I’m just—mmh—taking it.”

Minos paused. Penance. Gabriel perceived this as punishment; penetration was subjugation, and he had deigned Minos the honor of persecuting him. (Prosecuting? Minos silenced a slew of euphemisms involving his pounding gavel.) This was humiliation, emasculation. Gabriel kept looking away, kept muffling himself. Mortification. He could not want this. It had to be involuntary: the spasming transcendence of ecstasy must itself take him. Gabriel imagined himself martyred by this little death.

Perhaps reason could not be talked into Gabriel—indeed, words were never the language he spoke most fluently. Reason, too, was a blade to be thrust in firmly.

“Oh, f*ck—”

Such was the only way to get through to him, it seemed. Gabriel threw his forearm over his face to hide his rough, pleasured groans.

“Do not suppress thyself,” Minos whispered. “Thy desire is pure; innocent and virginal.”

Gabriel grunted, cursing, carving his nails into Minos’s skin. Pale crescents and scratches formed across his back. The ravaged angel writhed, all avarice and animalism, armor scraping against the asphalt as Minos f*cked him into it.

He could neither think nor moderate himself. Minos’s swirling mind had hazed over, sent stupid and slavering by the sounds of skin slapping against skin. “Lust is divine,” he panted, rutting into Gabriel, repeatedly claiming his needy c*nt. “Only good, only pure, only—nnh—natural.”

Something slipped against Gabriel’s neck, drooling and dark. Something unnatural. He flinched back, gasping, “Wh-what—?”

It came from the hole in his head. A tendril. Not even Minos knew its origin. Strange and serpentine, it lapped and licked, flecking slobber across his skin. A shiver shook through Gabriel, and he whined, struggling to reach his hand down his skirt and give relief to his throbbing cl*t.

With his free hand, Gabriel grabbed aimlessly at the ground below, gauntlets scraping against gravel. His groans were maddening, tinged with virginal frustration. “Harder,” he gasped out. “Come on.”

“I seek not… to injure thee.”

Gabriel scoffed, “Of course you don’t.” Armored fingers dug into his side. “Harder.”

Strong legs wrapped around Minos, forcing him to f*ck deeper, hilting himself inside Gabriel with a heaving gasp. He bowed his head over his shoulder, leaning his face next to his helmet, groaning, “Gabriel…”

Dazedly, Minos pounded into him. It was a rhythm like a pulse. Hypnotic, trancelike f*cking. He wanted to come inside him. Wanted to breed. The drone of industrial machinery. Instinctual behavior, passivity. Gabriel kicked whenever he slowed, shoved him in deeper—made him f*ck harder. Minos let him.

Gabriel, of course, seemed thoroughly satisfied with himself. “What would they think, Minos?” He went on, “Watching you f*ck me like this.”

Minos, out of breath, ventured, “Heaven? The Council?”

“Your people, Minos.”

Hatred burned in his heart.

Gabriel laughed cruelly. “N-not that it matters, now.”

“Silence,” Minos said, voice shaky, abruptly pulled from the edge—from fantasy. The heat of Gabriel’s sex was intoxicating, yet no inebriation could numb him to Gabriel, whose neck eagerly invited either asphyxiation or snapping.

“Too cowardly… to kill me.”

Minos glanced down. Gabriel had tipped his head back, neck expectantly bared.

“W-worthless—” He gasped out, “Choke me.”

“Deviant,” rebuked Minos. “That was what riled thee?”

Masochism: some twisted conflation of pain and pleasure. Of all angels, of course Gabriel could not tell the two apart.

The Father was all-loving, lest one be born unlovable—and most were. Repression and repentance in equal parts comprised His Love. Those who did not repress were suppressed, violently. So freely did Gabriel relish in the sins of violence; so eager was Heaven to assign him these intricate rituals. Through centuries of self-flagellation and slaughter, lust and bloodlust had been tangled and intertwined in Gabriel’s impassioned mind. Perhaps Minos should have been flattered. After all, Gabriel had stabbed his sword deep.

To turn this proverbial blade on himself—maybe it was reclamation, in some perverse sense. Still: “I shall not engage in thy senseless violence, thy sick perversions of intimacy,” said Minos. “’Twould be a kindness undeserved by thee.”

Again, Gabriel scoffed. “What? Your city was no stranger to deviancy. Nor were you.” He recited, “All love is pure under the all-loving Lord—that was your decree.”

“Do not…”

“You must have missed Sisyphus.” Gabriel whispered, “Degenerate.”

A flash of red. Minos grabbed Gabriel’s bruised body and slammed himself in to the hilt. A pitchy, half-choked cry tore from his throat.

“Look at thyself,” Minos hissed. “Angel whor*.”

He set a brutal pace. Gabriel did not give the courtesy of hiding his arousal. He let his legs wrap tighter around Minos, moaning,“Yy—yes, yes.”

The rage fueled a fire Minos had tried to extinguish in himself long ago. For the insatiable abyss that was Gabriel, even this was still not enough—he squirmed beneath Minos, bucking his hips up, trying to f*ck himself harder.

“Brazen little slu*t,” said Minos. “Stupid and disturbed with depravity.” He pushed down on Gabriel’s breastplate, forcing a weak wheeze from him. “Do not force my hand further.”

Gabriel lifted his neck. “Or you’ll—what?” He cackled, “K-kill me?”

Minos slammed his head back down. “I will.”

No, he would not. Minos was not a violent man. What was he doing?

A king was a kingdom’s embodiment. The city was the soul: Minos was its face and body. He had operated in endless negation of his own id and ego, politics carefully polished to prove wrong Heaven’s unjust perceptions of Lust: the city, the sin—and himself.

“Then make it hurt,” Gabriel snarled. “Come ON—!”

Lust was peaceful, lust was pure, and Minos was not a violent man. He did not grab Gabriel by the neck, nor crush his fists around his throat; he did not relish in the cute, strangled sounds that slipped through, and the pit of his stomach did not burn with ugly satisfaction as Gabriel gasped for air and moaned his name.

His helmet clanged against the ground. “Ff… finally,” Gabriel breathed. “f*ck me—like I deserve.”

Like he deserved. Minos’s hands grabbed for his exposed waist, fingers digging into the curve of his hips—into his bleeding sides—and f*cked relentlessly into him. Slammed full of co*ck, body beaten and bruised, Gabriel cried out pathetically:

“Harder—!”

His voice. His damned voice. Raised high, reduced to girlish gasps and little whines—broken abruptly by rough moans. Where had his arrogant, vainglorious idiocy gone? Gabriel had been f*cked dumber, too devastated by desire to feign even the barest façade of superiority. He was flesh to bruise and a c*nt to use.

Gabriel had clawed him hard enough to bleed. Rivulets dripped from his ripped open back. Minos hardly registered this; his mind had gone dark with desire. He was close, so close to claiming Gabriel, to forcing him to submission, to crushing his neck—

“Angel,” said Minos, suddenly sickening and saccharine sounding. “I beg…”

Gabriel knew already. His excited body writhed. “Do it.” Again, that sound of devastation. It sounded nearly like a sob. “Hurt me, f*ck me, fill me.”

The aching guilt, the gnawing regret: gone. Gone in a blinding flash of light. There was only seething, searing hatred left. Gabriel had taken everything else. Minos hated him. An electric coil burned in his stomach—like lightning from God. He hated Gabriel. Minos bent his legs to the air, tipped his body back, and f*cked Gabriel like it would kill him.

“Lord, oh, Holy Father,” Gabriel gasped, head tipped back to the heavens. “Harder, harder—”

He slammed in hard. Deep. To the hilt.

Hot, thick seed defiled Gabriel’s c*nt. Gabriel gave a strained gasp—did he feel it flow into his desecrated body? Head swirling, Minos groaned in grim satisfaction, squeezing in his co*ck deeper, feeling Gabriel’s pounding pulse as he pumped his womb full. Between shaky thrusts, his abyssal face drooled, whispering reflexive praise to his lover below.

“Good boy,” he muttered. “Good… good boy, Gabriel.”

Gabriel gave a nasally whine. His wings flapped against the floor—and his tense body trembled. Gabriel clenched around him. He cried something unintelligible, voice cracking weakly as he came a second time. Minos pulled back to admire the sight, co*ck slipping out of his used c*nt, petting Gabriel’s poor, painfully sensitive cl*t in a daze.

Lust was humid and murky, seething with the scent of sem*n and sweat. Steel and asphalt alike sweltered under its neon glow. Next to him, Gabriel lay in torrid silence, panting, thighs striped with warm seed.

“Lust,” he said, caught between heavy breaths, “is an abomination.” He laughed quietly to himself.

Hazily, Minos offered his hand to help him onto his knees. Gabriel got up—then fell against Minos’s chest, glowing wings folded neatly around himself. Another faint giggle.

“An abomination?” Minos repeated softly. He touched Gabriel’s shoulder.

Gabriel pulled away. He stared, shoulders raised, repulsed. Minos withdrew his hand and did not speak. The wind was cold, and the city was dark.

Steadying himself, Gabriel drew a deep breath. “Lust is a weakness like a wound, enfeebling the impotent and tempting the contemptible. Your imprisonment hasn’t ended, Minos. You’ve abandoned your mortal body, but not its Flesh.”

Minos judged the heir to his judicial throne. “As if thou didst not…” He let silence finish the sentence: the howling wind and their heavy breathing. “What then of thine own desires?”

“Your desires have rendered you incapable of rending me apart. Again.”

“Death soon calls for thee. And thy hand has not yet struck me down,” said Minos. “Thine opportunities have been ample.”

Gabriel huffed. “An inadequate excuse.”

He stayed silent after. He stayed close to Minos, but did not look at him. Questions were left lingering in the empty air—unvoiced, unspeakable, and unbearable. Neither wanted to talk in these particular terms. The tension stayed tangible.

With shaking legs, Gabriel stood. He sighed and swept dust from his skirt. With his dignity thoroughly lost, Gabriel was desperate to regain some semblance of it—unlike his virginity, which he was unlikely to get back. He suddenly froze, then whipped his head to the side. Gabriel watched with wearied disdain as cum dripped from his thigh.

“… Repulsive,” he said, instinctively reaching down—receding instantly when it touched his fingers. He shook his profaned hand and uttered profanities.

Minos took a moment of pause. A subtle, conscious reassessment. It was in vain, of course; no amount of better judgement could overrule Man’s dumbest desires. (It… would be an act of chivalry, really.)

He said, “Allow me.” The perversion in his voice was more than palpable.

On his knees, Minos snaked a hand just above Gabriel’s greaves. The serpent coiled on his forearm flicked out its tongue. His oozing abyss of a face stared intently towards his skirt.

Gabriel stopped. “That is—” He swallowed. “That’s disgusting.”

He folded his wings slowly, then leaned against the building behind him.

“… I’ll indulge your deviancy.”

Averting his gaze, Gabriel held up his skirt by the hem. The fabric fluttered, windswept, and flipped up higher than Gabriel had wanted it to. Minos swore he saw his helmet flush pink—or was that Lust’s reflected light? The angel crossed his thighs, barely hiding his straining, cutely-sized erection.

A realization dawned on Minos, then. Had… Gabriel been fighting bare? He had not seen him remove anything. Surely the angel did not allow just any sinner a look up his skirt. Did he? His affinity for aerial combat became increasingly questionable.

Gabriel knew the art of ἀνάσυρμα[anásyrma: Lifting up the skirt as a lewd gesture; depicted in classical Greek art.]
(… Or would it be ἀνασυρόμενος?)[anasyromenos: Lifting up the skirt to reveal a phallus.]
well, either way. Minos hummed, admiring the sight.

“Well?” Gabriel said snidely—with a discrepant waver in his voice. “Stop staring.”

From the hole in Minos’s head, hot breath fluttered against Gabriel’s bare flesh. He said, “Patience. ’Tis a virtue, Gabriel.”

Minos’s broad hand slipped between his legs and thumbed at his throbbing cl*t. Gabriel made a muffled sound. His thighs were sticky with wetness, trembling slightly from his touch. Minos did not hesitate to bury his face between them. The sharp scent of sex flooded his senses.

“Just—” Leaning back, Gabriel hooked his leg around Minos. Cum dripped from his soaked c*nt. “J-just get it over with.”

Gabriel was… temperamental. Trapped by the bounds of temperance, he surely had centuries of unsatiated desire sleeping beneath the skin. Now that he had been given a taste, perhaps the seed of change had been sown, so to speak. His irrationality was fertile ground for the roots of ideology.

Yes, that was why. The ecstasy of liberty was deserved by all—including Gabriel. A wholly selfless pursuit.

He ogled harder up Gabriel’s skirt. He hovered his gaping maw closer to his c*nt.

… Not even Minos convinced himself.

His tongue was typically talented; indeed, the oratorical arts were where he excelled—but Minos had a habit, exacerbated by agitation and excitement alike, of unthinkingly speaking in tangled tongues: a fustian fugue of garbled and garrulous grandiloquence that turned his trained rhetoric tenuous at best.

So, smothered betwixt the angel’s thighs, Minos sanctimoniously semanticized, “Ecstasy is only divine.”

Gabriel gave a preemptive groan.

“Will of God, what needs be said to convince thee?—and shall my tongue speak these truths to thy Flesh?” He recited the Good Book, as written by his own pen. “For Man to pursue what his heart does desire; Gabriel, ’tis a gift of the Lord Himself, as Freedom is His Eternal Law. Is this then not His Will?”

Gabriel grabbed Minos by the crown. “No. He is dead, and you have killed Him.” He pressed his thighs around his head and pushed him down. “Shut up and—”

He silenced himself with a shaky gasp. Minos’s imitative tongue snaked against his c*nt. The thick and drooling width encompassed him completely, and Minos found it had not lost his particular tastes. His tongue probed, teasing into Gabriel and tasting what he had done to him. Dazed, he lapped between Gabriel’s legs, vacant face drooling at the mess that had been made of him.

Despite this, Minos could apparently still speak. He found himself in the midst of some sort of Socratic dialogue. “… Are not then the Lawful, lawful by Law? And the Lawless, lawless by an absence of Law?”

Gabriel groaned again, hotter this time. His attempts to force Minos into silence were fruitless—this still did not stop him from frustratedly smothering his face with his c*nt. Arms hugged over Gabriel’s waist, Minos shoved his tongue harder against his fat, throbbing cl*t. The fabric of Gabriel’s skirt slipped from his fingers, falling over Minos’s face as both hands scrambled for his crown. Not that it mattered. Minos knew the motions. He did not need to see.

Or think, really. It all went dark.

Gabriel f*cked his face. His tongue f*cked Gabriel.

When the fugue faded, wetness was dripping down his chin. Minos instinctively tried to swallow. He found himself pulling away, hot breath turning to condensation in the cold air. A saliva-like substance stranded from his face. He wiped it with the back of his wrist, breathing out. Minos glanced down—his co*ck was dripping against the ground.

Gabriel had backed himself flat against the wall, apparently, hand strewn across his forehead, wings twitching, knees shaking as he strained for breath. Perhaps he had seen the face of God while Minos was not looking. Already lost in his own disarray, he had hardly noticed Gabriel’s ruinous state until he stumbled and nearly collapsed beside him, blown by the winds.

Minos glanced up. The tempest had swirled itself into a frenzy. It battered at the buildings around them.

“We may seek shelter inside.” Minos stood up, pointing out a nearby storefront, one with unshattered glass doors—a spa parlor, apparently. Worn lettering read Better Than Heaven. He asked Gabriel, “Art thou cold?”

“I… What?”

His spine straightened instantaneously. A matter as domestic as the weather—so far removed from their mutual delirium. Wrested from red-hot fantasy, the answer to this simple question forced Gabriel to confront reality: cold and mildly uncomfortable. The bitter wind bit at his bare flesh. Gabriel crossed his arms and shivered.

“I am not going in there.”

Minos shot a glance over his shoulder. “Then die alone.” The door chimed as he stepped inside.

The dim of the lobby was intimate. Cozy, if a corpse of commercial services could be called that. Neon suffused from outside and illuminated the inside; fluorescent fixtures hung from the ceiling, but they did not seem to work. Unlike the rest of Lust, little had been looted—the luxury-priced lotions and promises of relaxation had outlived it all. Minos contemplatively appraised the pleather surface of a hot pink couch. It stuck to his skin when he sat on it.

Gabriel floated in moments later, wings flapping in indignation, apparently not deigning to grace the floor with his feet.

“You betrayed the Father’s design,” he said, grabbing a magazine left on the front desk, “for this?” A stylized, androgynous-looking demon adorned the cover. He thumbed through the pages, quite clearly not absorbing all but the full-page spreads and pull-quotes that scandalized him. “You denied sinners their repentance. You rejected His Word, erected your hideous city atop His Land, and died for it. All to protect this… degeneracy.”

Minos could only guess what his gaze lingered on before he brusquely slapped the magazine back down.

“You let this happen.”

He wanted a reaction. Minos refused to give him one. “I imagine thou wouldst be more comfortable seated.”

Gabriel glared at the ground—presumably scouring for sins to accuse the tile floor of. “I’m not interested in material comforts,” he said, then skulked off to a dark corner of the lobby. Hovering just at the periphery of Minos’s vision, Gabriel drew a deep breath, lifted his chin, then began to unstrap his pauldrons.

“Truly?”

“I wouldn’t choose to be corporeal at all,” Gabriel snapped, straining back to unlatch his armor, “if my duties in Hell did not require it.” He breathed a heavy sigh, heaving his cuirass off his chest. “It’s only a burden.”

Minos hummed. “Perhaps thou wilt find peace in death, then.”

“Your threats are empty as ever.”

“A threat? Amidst our most amicable intimacy yet?” Minos laughed boisterously. “Perish the thought!” He repeated, “Perish the thought. No, I know thy plight well. Indeed—I had hoped for death to liberate my body.” Minos stretched out his forearm, glancing over its vipery musculature. “Ha. If only.”

Across the room, Gabriel grumbled indeterminately, finally wrestling off his greaves. They fell to the floor with a metallic clunk. Passing by the front desk, he noticed a mirror on the wall, and he paused to preen. Gabriel had fully removed his armor, leaving on only the skirt that kept him decent and his helmet—what lurked beneath that, only God knew. In the reflection, Minos saw his bare chest: sculpted and broad. His shapely waist accentuated it well. Gabriel smoothed his hand along his injured side, still sticky with blood. Then he huffed, seemingly satisfied after staring himself down.

Minos sat with his legs crossed. He had not moved an inch.

Gabriel turned to face him. “You were watching me. Through the mirror.”

“It was thy choice to undress beside me.”

“Hmph.” Gabriel strode to the side of the couch. “I’m not admonishing you, Minos,” he said. “I just found it worth mentioning.”

Minos had tipped his head back, striving to ignore the angel at his shoulder. “Mine own reflection—I have not yet confronted it.” He crossed his arms. “Unlike thee, I have the good sense to fear what I may face.”

“Face?” Gabriel went on, “No, you won’t have to worry about that.”

Exasperated, Minos slunk deeper into the couch. “Yes, Archangel. You ravaged it well.”

Gabriel laughed under his breath.

“I made you bleed oceans over your beloved city.”

He idly touched the arm of the couch. The pliant surface took an indentation.

Minos tensed. “I have not forgotten.”

“Honestly, I was… impressed.” Gabriel crept closer. A disturbed excitement entered his voice. “My sword sliced out your tongue, but—Minos, you could still scream.” As if fond reminiscence between friends, he said, “You clung to life longer than you should have.”

Before Minos could respond, Gabriel dropped to his knees. He hugged at Minos’s legs and chuckled quietly, hands reaching to touch his lap. Cold metal met bare flesh as Gabriel leaned in.

He said, “The blade was already in my hand.” He took hold of his twitching co*ck, a laugh in his throat. “You opened your mouth to speak.”

He stroked a finger up the underside. A chill ran down Minos’s spine.

“And—and I shoved it in.”

Hot, breathy laughter warmed his co*ck.

What had Heaven done to its angels?

Horrified, head swirling from Gabriel’s tender touching and petting, Minos averted his gaze to the wall. A sign listed assorted massage services. Minos idly noted its oddly compulsory promise of a happy ending.

Resting his helmet against Minos’s thigh, Gabriel hummed happily. “If only I could…” He swallowed, then said, “I suppose my hands will have to do.”

Staring up, Gabriel nuzzled his helmet against Minos’s co*ck. He breathed deep, then exhaled a breathy moan. His hand delicately wrapped around the head, pausing to examine how it felt beneath his fingers. Minos gripped the arm of the couch. He tried to relax.

“Work,” Gabriel said to himself. “The most laborious form of worship.”

Minos barked a bemused laugh. “Work? Worship?”

“You brought me to my knees. Made me bow at your feet.” Gabriel traced two fingers across his co*cktip—almost imitating a tongue. “Am I not kneeling before you?”

“Not at my behest, angel.”

“No,” whispered Gabriel. He jutted his helm against his inner thigh—a cold, ardent kiss. He stroked his co*ck slowly. “You… made me.”

Gabriel’s hands—strong and firm, toughened from years of practiced swordsmanship, from slaughter in the name of God—were soft. Softer than they rightfully should have been, and manicured like an overly-pampered princeling’s. Minos imagined them clasped together in prayer. Thumbing the pages of scripture? Not wrapped around a thick co*ck.

Behind his helmet, Gabriel glanced up. “Let me. Please.”

Minos exhaled a breath he had hardly noticed himself holding. He said, “You, Gabriel—a ministering angel?” He tilted his chin. “One expects the Righteous Hand to attend to greater troubles.”

Gabriel eyed his lap. “I… would hope no greater trouble exists,” he said, then shook his head. “No. This is a show of servitude. And skill.” He concluded, “God’s Will.”

“Oh?” Minos sat up straight. “Then it is thine admission that lust is a sin most sinless.”

Gabriel stopped. “What? No.” His dissidence was genuine. “I’m just… I am serving you. Removing your debauched desires. I,” he said, hand darting away from his own lap, “am hardly enjoying this.”

“Fascinating,” spoke Minos. “And a trifle tenuous.”

“I’ll—ha ha—purge you of these putrid sins,” Gabriel declared, dragging his hand up his shaft, thumbing at the tip. He let Minos rub against his helmeted face.

“Thy practices are illegitimate.”

Precum had leaked onto his helmet’s holy cross. Gabriel struck him a glare, unseen, but not unfelt. He said, “Just accept your sanctification.” He stroked faster.

Gabriel was inexperienced, clumsy—and enjoying himself, clearly. It was… nearly endearing. Minos brought his hand to his head, feigning to pet him through his helmet. A small sound rumbled in his throat as he sank lower, kissing his helm against his shaft. Even if he could not feel it, Gabriel relished in the attention. Minos felt hot breath spill out from where the metal met his chin. He drifted lower, face pressed against his balls—behind his helmet, a heady inhale. He breathed out with a moan. Humming amusedly, Minos thumbed the laurels of his helm. When Gabriel looked up at him for a long moment, Minos almost thought he had seen a look of love.

He would die soon.

Hours, the angel said hours—had he heard him right? Minos stiffened. He shifted uncomfortably in his cushioned seat. He became keenly aware of the way it kept clinging to his skin as Gabriel touched him with a dying kind of desperation. His imperfect, inchoate desires had been laid bare. This was a confession or an act of redemption. A plea for acquittal before death.

Unthinkingly, Minos tilted Gabriel’s chin to meet his gaze. He watched him shiver. What did Gabriel see in his absent face? Minos could not recall the last time he had been looked in the eyes.

“What?” Gabriel said softly.

“I…” Minos stroked the side of his helmet. “’Tis nothing.”

Gabriel’s shoulders raised. “What?” His grip strangled around him. “Are you not satisfied?”

“No, Gabriel—”

“No? As in, you’re not?”

“Nn—” Minos silenced himself. Sighing, he said, “Sit, angel. Spread thy legs.”

Gabriel stilled. He stood up slowly.

“Make me.”

Minos was caught in the cross-hair of his helm. A defiance of authority, or a desire to acquiesce? His tone was absent of impudence. This was a request.

A bit incredulous, Minos followed him to his feet. He slid an arm around Gabriel’s waist—shoved him sideways—and pressed him back against the couch. Looming above, Minos stroked his chest. He traced Gabriel’s golden patterns with his hand: starting at his torso, spiraling down to his soft stomach, the rest hidden beneath his skirt. Gabriel held his breath. Minos’s hand rested just above his knee. He thumbed at Gabriel’s thighs, gently imploring them open. They did not move.

A moment passed. Gabriel glowered, shifting to get up. “I said”—he grabbed Minos’s wrist—“make me.”

The ensuing silence was uncomfortable. Another oscillation: desire to disdain. Gabriel demanded his pleasure be made compulsory, as he did his purpose. Heaven uttered an Order, and Gabriel obeyed. The Lord shaped with His Hand and Gabriel conformed. To cede control to the Superior: this was the ecstasy of communion. But the blasphemous brat struggled well. What did Gabriel want from him? A better God? Better policies?

Gabriel got up, shoving Minos away, walking towards the glass doors. He whispered, “Worthless as ever.”

No—God, where was he going? There was nowhere else for him to stay. Nowhere safe. Nowhere but his city. Minos instinctively grabbed his shoulder.

Gabriel whipped around and struck him.

… Not with a sword. Not even a fist. An open-palm slap. Certainly non-lethal. Minos rubbed the stinging side of his face as Gabriel held a deeply unserious fighting stance. He looked at Gabriel, and sighed.

Then he pushed him against the doors. Gabriel exaggerated a yelp.

“To allow God’s Will to be felled with such ease,” Minos said, “Gabriel—shall I condemn thee for reckless blasphemy?”

The angel huffed, tossing his head in indignation, helmet clunked against the glass. His mannerisms were more befitting of a brat than a soldier of God—certainly not one nearing execution. Gabriel’s haughtiness accompanied him all the way to the gallows. His head would be hung high, if nothing else.

“Thy silence speaks clearly.”

Gabriel leaned in closer. “f*ck you.”

Foreheads pressed, they exchanged invisible stares.

Minos saw it coming. Gabriel had ducked down, rearing back to headbutt his chest; Minos’s faster reflexes had him swing to the side and bend his arm into form. And—

He had misjudged. It was a lapse of muscle memory; he had forgotten which body he was in. His fist hit too hard—he had pulled back too far, and at the wrong angle—and Gabriel’s head flung forward. He crashed into the doors. They shattered from the impact. Minos reeled back.

“Gabriel—?”

(The tendons of his hand remembered how they once grabbed hold of a young woman. The residential district, an abandoned apartment complex—she was pounding on locked glass doors. His shambling corpse shattered them, and for a fleeting moment, Minos imagined he had helped her escape. He closed his fist and heard a crunch.)

Gabriel lunged. Only then did Minos realize he could not move. Not as Gabriel crashed his helmet into his chest, not as the air was knocked out of his lungs, not as his head fell and hit the tile floor.

The angel loomed above, silhouetted by his halo. Minos struggled to remember which limbs he had and where they were. He felt his body bend at incorrect angles when he hunched to get up. He felt lips he did not have contort to try to scream.

Gabriel only watched. He was silent. (He looked disgusted.)

Minos’s arm shook uncontrollably. It grabbed Gabriel by the neck and slammed him to the ground.

The words raced out: “Death is too good for thee.”

“I know.”

“Thy damnation should be eternal.” His voice shook. “Not mine.”

Shattered glasses surrounded them. A draft blew in. Gabriel hazily held up his head. His fingers squirmed, straining to touch the hand Minos had wrapped around his wrist.

Both paused.

Minos took a deep breath. He suddenly felt very exhausted.

Then, he took his hand. Gabriel’s throat made a sound—he grabbed Minos’s crown and crashed their foreheads together. Minos pressed back with his head, thumb gently stroking Gabriel’s palm.

His heart hurt. Minos stopped himself from thinking about what was happening. He focused on the physicality. Gabriel was breathless, fingers desperately intertwining with his as they shoved themselves together, over and over, skin and flesh, against each other, as if it would either fix or fuse their bodies.

Chest pressed to chest, Minos felt the pulse of Gabriel’s heart. He pulled away slowly. Gabriel whined and weakly punched at his shoulders. He kept trying to pull him closer, back into their confused embrace.

It took effort to keep the angel off him, really. He was comparatively small, enough that the weight of Minos’s muscles kept him down with little strain—yet Gabriel’s eagerness to fight was apparently endless. Minos struck him a look, hoping that this would finally fell him.

Gabriel held his gaze. He whispered, “More. Please?”

When that did not manage to move Minos, Gabriel loudly groaned, kicking his legs and pounding his fists against his back.

“I cannot seem to die, Gabriel.” Minos panted, “Despite thy valiant efforts.”

Gabriel struggled harder—wrapping his limbs uselessly against Minos, pushing his hips to gain leverage, attempting either to roll himself on top, or…

“Do not hump me,” rebuked Minos.

Gabriel grunted, “You—nnfh—let me, earlier.” He flapped his wings against the ground, legs wrestling to wrap around Minos so he could rut harder on him. “Your face, Minos.” Gabriel laughed ridiculously. “You just let me.”

Minos gave a sudden sharp hiss. He stopped to shove Gabriel’s arm away from his backside. “At least loosen thy cold grip of death upon—”

As Minos leaned up, Gabriel crashed his head into his chest—he recoiled back, unprepared. Gabriel clamored for him, straining to wrestle himself on top.

“Lord above, angel,” Minos lamented. He tensed his arms, muscles taut, grappling against Gabriel. “Warn me.”

The angel did not respond in words, only furious, guttural groans. How freely Gabriel allowed himself behave like an animal. Minos sighed. How futile. Rather than fight against Gabriel, he fought to pull away.

Why? Because Minos had learned nothing—and, with age, had quite possibly gone demented.

The Righteous Hand got the upper hand. An ugly growl caught in Gabriel’s throat—it tore from his teeth as he ruthlessly wrestled Minos to the ground, face shoved to the floor. He burst into sad*stic laughter.

Their f*cking and fighting became indistinguishable.

Gabriel had positioned himself on top. Skin slapped skin as he feigned f*cking Minos. Mindless humping—his hips slapped mercilessly against him, his wings flapped hard behind him. Nothing but a feral animal. Gabriel leaned lower; he hugged Minos’s chest and rutted senselessly as he struggled beneath him. Hot, heavy groans escaped his helmet as he crashed it against Minos’s shoulder.

“Take it,” Gabriel droned.“Nnh—take, ffh, ff—f*ck, hnnh…”

Another futile fight. Minos had fully resigned himself, already knowing the victor. Gabriel’s moans quickly degraded into frustrated whines. His co*ck twitched at the maddening sound. Ungracefully, Minos reached back to stroke himself.

“Don’t you f*cking d-dare—”

Gabriel’s voice hiked a pitch higher as he grabbed Minos’s arm and wrestled it away. He doubled his fruitless efforts to f*ck him. Minos could feel his soaked c*nt slapping against him. Hear it, even. He feigned disinterest. Minos hummed placidly as Gabriel hurled insults, letting the little angel have his way with him—letting him f*ck furiously until his shaking legs gave out.

“Art thou done?”

He panted, “Y… you piece of sh*t—”

Flipping onto his back, Minos threw his palms against Gabriel’s chest. He cracked out a cry as he fell backwards. Minos crawled over him. Between his kicking legs, Gabriel’s drooling c*nt was on unabashed display, skirt flipped from the struggle. Minos hiked it up higher. Exposed to the air, Gabriel exhaled sharply through his nose, mouth sealed from a moan he refused to let free.

“Obey.”

Gabriel kicked angrily. Looming above, Minos calmly hooked an arm around his leg to restrain him, wrestling his thighs apart. Two fingers swept across his slit.

“You, you,” Gabriel whined, “ffh-f*ck—f*ck!”

Minos shoved into his c*nt. His palm slapped repeatedly against Gabriel’s plump skin as he f*cked his fingers into him. Voice breaking, Gabriel swore violently in Latin—something about how he would sodomize and face-f*ck him.

“Silence.”

He pounded deeper, fingers curling inside his c*nt. Body burning, Gabriel moaned, his legs lashing out until he landed a heavy kick against the side of Minos’s head—it was unclear if it this had been accidental or not, actually.

Minos hissed, holding his head. He stumbled backwards to recuperate, only to find he had cornered himself against the couch. Gabriel saw—then he flew forward, wings flapping madly. He landed upright on his feet.

Minos, prepared to move, noticed something strange in his posture. Gabriel appeared oddly collected—and Minos did not know what to make of it. He watched in silence as the angel approached.

Gabriel took a single, strong step forward. Minos did not move.

Then he stepped down.

Minos’s heart thundered. He thanked God for the miracle of levitation—Gabriel had made himself light enough that it did not hurt.

“Of course,” muttered Gabriel. “Of course you enjoy this.”

“Angel—”

He pressed down harder. Minos saw stars. He tried to stop his hips from moving. Tried.

Gabriel glared down, crossing his arms. “Disgusting,” he said.

Minos heard the faintest hint of a laugh in his throat. He could see up a bit higher up his skirt every time his leg moved.

His mind spun. As if it could muffle what echoed out, Minos threw a palm over his void of a face. His wants were all-consuming, swallowing will like whorling vortices; Minos wanted to be eaten alive. If he stopped thinking for even a second he would come on Gabriel’s foot.

“Just as I thought.” Gabriel said, “Even now, you won’t fight back.”

The pressure lifted. Precum stranded from his stomach to his co*cktip. He had been fighting.

Gabriel scoffed. He sat on his knees, on top of him.

And Minos let him. “Off,” he ordered anyway.

Gabriel shoved down on his shoulders. Minos felt his co*ck throb in anticipation.

“Off.”

He held firm. Gabriel straddled his stomach and stared him down, helmeted gaze unreadable. He made himself look bigger by fanning out his wings. His halo, held upright to Heaven, glowed a brilliant blue and gold.

He said, “Make me.”

Strong thighs held Minos in place. Hips humping into him, Gabriel lifted his skirt with one hand to watch where their bodies connected—to see how his dripping c*nt dragged across his sticky co*ck.

“I have subdued you, Minos,” he announced. “Your profane form splays below me. You will surrender, and I will…”

A halting breath interrupted him. Gabriel reached down, fumbling to guide the tip to his entrance.

“… Ss-strike you down.”

His hips snapped down. He took the length in its entirety. Gasping, Gabriel gyred his hips, failing to stifle a high-pitched sound.

“Oh, f*ck—”

Minos dizzily grabbed at his slender waist. He tried to guide him—tried to tame his senseless movements into anything intelligible—but Gabriel resisted. He refused anything but to f*ck himself stupid on top of him. Minos hissed, clenched his fist, and conceded.

Gabriel let his body bounce on his co*ck. He began a brutal pace, moaning and laughing, completely unabashed. He was rough; Gabriel allowed himself to be, far more readily than Minos had. The angel was lost in his own pleasure: curving his spine obscenely, fanning out his wings, emphasizing the flawless form of his body. His ass lifted up and his c*nt drove down. Sweltering skin smacked repeatedly on Minos’s lap.

“H-how does it feel? To f*ck an angel,” he said. “To defile—mmh—to desecrate my perfect body.”

Minos mumbled, “Damnation.” It felt like being damned to the fiery pits of Hell. Gabriel engulfed him like swirling, swallowing seas of hellfire. His hungry c*nt clenched tight, ravenous, riding him with desperate, desirous hate. Like the drooling maw of a monster. Minos had known many lovers, but none like Gabriel—if he could be called one, even. There was no love in this coupling. They f*cked like animals.

Gabriel pitched back his head and hummed a moan between his lips. Then they burst open, liberating delirious laughter. Involuntarily, Minos’s body tried to bury itself deeper—as if he could sink to the bottom of the abyss. He matched Gabriel’s movements, muscular thighs burning as he thrust harshly up.

A half-laughed gasp left Gabriel’s lips. “Hah—ha, harder,” he demanded, hands pressing down on Minos’s shoulders, riding him with force.

Minos strained, groping Gabriel, groaning, trying in vain to f*ck deeper into his strong body. He went at an angle—and his co*ck slipped out unceremoniously. Minos slid against Gabriel’s stomach, slicked with wetness, sighing, “Angel.” Shifting on his back, he suddenly despaired, “Canst thou f*ck me anywhere but the floor?!”

Gabriel ignored him. He huffed impatiently, folded his wings, turned around on his knees—then dropped back down.

“Be thankful that I… allow you my body at all. Let alone let you—mmh—fornicate with me.”

Apparently Minos would not be deigned the honor of seeing Gabriel’s front side. But this view was impossible not to admire; arguably, he looked better from behind. His burning wings flared brilliantly, his thick thighs and muscled back proved his perfect form and function—while his supple ass proved nothing but the Lord’s eye for aesthetics (and it alone may have reaffirmed Minos’s faith in Him).

Minos had eager hands. Gabriel leaned into his groping touch, mumbling, “You’re depraved.”

Tight c*nt riding on top of him, he squeezed and shoved Gabriel’s ass, both hands finding dense, trained muscle beneath deceptively soft skin. Warmth and wetness enveloped him; he kept sinking deeper. Minos tipped his neck back onto the seat behind him, watching Gabriel over the blurry horizon of his own head.

Minos barely moved against him. He wanted to savor it, wanted to keep the angel on his co*ck, wanted to consume and keep being consumed. Gabriel dug his nails into his skin; he jerked, thrusting up, starting to match his pace.

Gabriel’s voice kept failing to find a place. He flung it back and forth between cute whines and hot, low growls as he demanded more.

“Harder…” rumbled Gabriel. “f*ck me, f*ck me like—aah!” He rushed out, “Like—nnh!—an animal.”

Then the angel turned furious—grunting, f*cking, planting his arms at his sides and humping the co*ck inside him. He inhaled sharply and shot a hand between his legs. Minos could feel how his c*nt kept clenching him. His head was hazy. He leaned back, groaning, letting Gabriel f*ck himself how he pleased until his tight body tensed on his co*ck and came.

When he did he was loud. Low and wrecked sounding. His c*nt came on him—he could feel it taking him deep, wet and warm. Gabriel f*cked on top of him, groaning, breathing hard. Then his body dropped down to grind on him, co*ck shoved deep inside. Was he growling? Gabriel started to ride him, again. Minos thought he would pass out.

The angel’s angry, exaggerated moans came to a sudden halt. He shot a look over his shoulder, noticing Minos’s lack of movement. “You worthless—!”

Gabriel doubled his pace with a furious grunt. Shoving up and down on his co*ck, the angel arched his spine and leaned back. He flapped his wings ridiculously. Feathers smacked against Minos’s face.

“Come on, Minos,” he panted.

Minos groaned, repeatedly smacking them away. “If thou wouldst not beat me…”

“f*ck me. Use me.” Gabriel demanded, “Do something.” His c*nt dripped around him. “Nnh—I thought you were… good at this.”

Gabriel made his body into a prison and public execution. He moved like a perfect mechanism on top of him, because the damnable thing always made it a show. Hiked up around his hips, the ends of Gabriel’s skirt bounced, tossed up by his every move. His cute ass taunted, hidden barely beneath. Minos shakily stroked a hand at Gabriel’s waist. He felt his hips stutter and try to f*ck against the suddenly impossible weight of his body.

Gabriel crossed his arms, still managing to ride him with just the strength of his thighs. He said, “You useless l—libertine.”

He was so hard it hurt. He was so close. He saw stars. Minos hugged his arms around Gabriel, head tossed back, only able to move with great effort. The angel held down his hips and rode him hard.

“Ggh…” Minos cried, “Gabriel—”

Gabriel tilted his head almost imperceptibly. Then—he stopped.

A horrible sound strangled itself out of Minos’s lungs. No—why, God, why now? Head spinning, throat closing, Minos gave a weak, empty thrust into his body. He pleasurelessly came inside Gabriel.

The angel flicked his wings. “Hmm?” He tipped his head higher, not turning to look at him. “What’s wrong, Minos?”

A curse caught and cracked in his throat. “Kckh—”

Hips shoving in tiny, teasing circles, Gabriel uncaringly rocked his c*nt on his softening co*ck. It slipped out. Minos’s body burned with humiliation. Gabriel only hummed in annoyance, already trying to shove it back inside himself. A pitiful amount of seed leaked from his dripping hole.

“You’re not done. Come on,” Gabriel said, “keep f*cking me.”

Minos hissed. God damn this body. It had the stamina to stay half-erect, just hard enough to hurt. He shakily rubbed against Gabriel’s ass. The absence of his hot c*nt around him hurt more. Minos pushed back between his plump, sweat-soaked puss*, barely teasing against the tight hole, not daring to slip inside. A sharp jolt shot up his nerves—Gabriel sank down on his oversensitive co*ck again.

He gasped out, “Slow, Gabriel, slow.”

Body already bouncing on him, Gabriel tossed his head over his shoulder, clearly satisfied with himself.

“What? Too afraid to—ffh—fight back?” His wings flared wider. “You really are w-worthless.”

“Thou art… ignorant,” was all Minos could manage.

“Afraid to challenge your superiors, is that it?” He leaned forward, letting Minos’s co*ck slip out of him. His erection twitched against the angel’s ass. Gabriel huffed, reaching back to stroke it. “Don’t want to disrupt the natural order of…”

Minos squeezed Gabriel’s thigh—a warning; of what, he himself did not know. It was simply an assertion of authority. But nothing seemed to obey Minos: not Gabriel, not his own body. Never his own body.

Gabriel only laughed, rolling his hips tauntingly slow. Tenderly, almost lovingly. “You should’ve killed me when you had the—”

Something in Minos snapped.

He grabbed Gabriel by the waist, wrestling him backwards, pulling him into a headlock—then he slipped in his co*ck and f*cked him with wordless fervor. Gabriel’s fight to get back on top was fruitless; he whined with strain as Minos grappled his arm, struggling to free himself, struggling not to buck his hips and let himself be bred.

Having the angel on top was an advantageous position. He reached around to rub his erect cl*t, thumb and finger together stroking and tugging. The poor angel—he was utterly broken. Wrestling Gabriel’s sweat-drenched underarm around his neck, Minos’s tongue slid out and licked at his bare chest.

“Ha ha—f*ck, f-f*ck me,” he moaned, delirious. “W-worthless… hffh, worthless sodomizing degenerate—”

The damn thing was a toreador.

Minos spat, “Boy-bitch.” Neon red, nothing else. “Breed with me and be quiet.”

Gabriel gave a choked gasp when he shoved him down on his co*ck. He struggled his hips, whining, “You, you f-f*cking…”

“No.” Minos snaked a hand around his throat, breathing hot. “Dumb animal.” The body around him burned. “The Lord should have thee on a leash.”

Shivering, Gabriel said, “God, please—”

Minos squeezed his neck to silence him. Gabriel’s body writhed, strangled grunts and moans still escaping. Minos’s face drooled against his skin. He muttered, “Only my co*ck would make a better muzzle.”

“Y… yes. Please.” Gabriel choked, “f*ck, please—!”

Pounding in deep, he made a sound like a sob.

“Poor Gabriel,” said Minos, hands strangling harder. “O, you poor thing.”

It all kept hazing over.

He had bent Gabriel over at some point. Arms hugged around his chest, Minos mindlessly bred him from behind, f*cking him with the entire force of his body. Balls slapped against Gabriel’s sweat-soaked skin, every thrust forcing him further down against the floor. Gabriel had yielded completely—he clanked his head down and held his ass up high, groaning and whining like a girl. Drool leaked from his helmet.

(And at some point Gabriel got on top of him again. For some reason Minos could not see. His face recalled a certain weight and the fact that his tongue was moving.)

Then Gabriel was against the couch. Minos felt himself holding back and a pair of legs lounging over him. He was buried halfway into his c*nt. Gabriel had a hand between his legs, panting, touching himself.

His free arm seized to the side and gripped the cushions. “Close—I’m so… close, f-f*ck.”

“Good boy,” said Minos. “There we are. Good boy.”

He f*cked him mercilessly. Hips rocking hard, Gabriel muffled a shout behind his lips, turning into a moan when his mouth fell open.

“Inside me,” he chanted, “God, inside me—Lord, inside me…”

Already, he was impatient. Minos felt his vision blurring over, whispering Gabriel’s name like a prayer. He caressed his helmet with his hand and pressed their heads together.

“L-let me feel it,” Gabriel groaned, nails digging in deep. “In, inside me—now.”

Minos breathed out shakily.

“C-come on—!”

He grabbed Gabriel by the hips and pounded in hard. He thought about pulling out and coming across his face instead—and how good Gabriel would look with cum dripping down his holy cross. He wondered how eagerly his tongue would clean up the tip. And how much his throat could take. And he almost found out; Minos almost reached to wrench off Gabriel’s helmet and shove his co*ck past his pretty lips. By the time he made the conscious effort not to, he realized his c*nt had already started swallowing it all.

Minos pulled back, groaning, staring down at the hot seed spilling and stranding around his co*ck. He kept f*cking Gabriel. His body burned with heat. Minos slipped a broad hand down to rub at his erect cl*t, and Gabriel broke. He sobbed out something, body squeezing around him—then he buried his face into Minos’s shoulder and hugged him as he came.

(In the moment, Minos had not heard it. The words registered days later, after he was gone. Gabriel had said, “Thank you, I—I’m sorry, th-thank you.”)

Then he was on his side, and Gabriel was in his arms. Limp. For a moment Minos did not move. Then he heard the slightest sound of stupid laughter, and Minos remembered that he would not miss Gabriel when he died.

Neither said a word to each other.

Outside, the skyscrapers reached to touch Heaven. Minos imagined God impaled.

He began to wonder. In death, would Gabriel join his long-departed Father? Be cast to deeper depths than Lucifer? (Surely he would not just cease to exist.)

Heaven, Hell. Minos balanced the scales in his hands. In this matter he had no jurisdiction, but his judgement came compulsory. Guilt, innocence: Minos often found his verdicts inapplicable, but Heaven demanded its single-minded determinism. The Lord’s unconditional election knew no referendum—no petit jury, no fair trial—only martyrs and executioners. The sacrificial scapegoat and its slaughtering shepherd. Higher, lower. A perfect inexorable Order.

There was no centerground to break in the Kingdom of Heaven. Minos had tried, and made Purgatory.

He had been a fool to try. There was no reasoning to be done with an unlistening, logically deficient Lord. If the Holy Father was infallible, then so too should have been the Will of God—but His Righteous Hand was clearly not His dominant. And God did not seem the ambidextrous type. His Writing Hand had written flaw into fate. From it came free will, and in that, there were no real acts of redemption. Only repression and endless reprobation.

Concupiscence was the original sin. Want was a gnawing wound that did not heal.

They had all been born broken.

And Gabriel, last to realize, clung to him. His body shivered slightly. He was cold. Of course he was. Minos thought he had no warmth left in him but his blood boiled all the same. Gabriel was cold—so he would seek and sap away whatever warmth was closest; he would level buildings, ruin lives, and slaughter innocents, all to quell his own cravings, or fear thereof. A dumb animal that desired things he did not understand.

Gabriel mumbled indistinctly. His lifting chest exhaled a satisfied sigh.

At a loss, Minos soothingly stroked his shoulder.

Gabriel, Bastard Child of the Lord. Could he be blamed? He had lived in eternal, unquestioning ignorance. A dumb animal. He had not even known that he had been born wrong. A dumb, innocent animal. What could Heaven do with a defective angel?—deny its existence, leave it to die, because no one wanted to see distortions in the Image of God. It was so much easier to leave the aberrant out of sight.

As above, so below. Heaven and Hell shared architects for good reason. When confronted with what did not conform, the Father constructed the labyrinthine halls of Hell to hide His mistakes.

Minutes passed. Minos did not dare speak. He held Gabriel closer. (He hoped he would die soon.)

The words spilled out eventually. Minos did not want them to.

“I will have nothing after this.”

The city was silent. Gabriel stared past the skyscrapers. “Neither will I.”

In his arms, Minos felt how Gabriel’s pulse pounded. His fluttery heart beat as if it would burst from his chest.

“Is… this what mortality is like?” A deceptively angelic laugh. “In the face of death, numbing the nerves with vacant pleasures of the Flesh. I suppose Mankind deserved some sympathy.”

“I suppose so,” said Minos.

Gabriel craned his neck, looking up at Minos—who could not bring himself to return his gaze. There was an empty, abyssal silence. Gabriel shifted uncomfortably in his arms.

“I…” He swallowed. “Were I one of Man, it would have been a pleasure to be damned here. Comparatively speaking.” Sounding almost mischievous: “Who will damn me when I die?”

Minos glanced down. “Thou wouldst be damned not to Lust. No. Far lower.”

Gabriel responded, “Really!” His head fell back against Minos’s chest. “Then deliver your verdict, Judge of Hell.”

Minos sighed. The ache of his heart did not dissipate. Yet there was little left to do but humor him.

“You, Gabriel, Archangel of Heaven.” The disgraced Judge held out his arm, serpents counting sins in their coils. “Thy sins include pride, homicide, vanity, blasphemy…” Minos turned his palm pointedly towards himself. “And, now—”

“That wasn’t an act of hom*osexuality.”

“… ’Twas not?”

“No. The Council revoked my—” Gabriel glowered. “I’m not technically a man. Not anymore.”

Angels were a fascinating animal. They were patriarchal: angels of a higher rank were referred to in the masculine, but as a divine species, they were ultimately androgynous. Gabriel had been stripped of his status; presumably, Heaven no longer considered him a man. This was their sole distinguishment. Angels did not procreate—they were made by the Father or formed from Mankind’s souls. Sexless.

So then, why did he…?

Gabriel had implied his corporeality to be mutable. So was it of his own choosing? Or had the Lord made him wrong? Minos was curious, yes—but these questions seemed unsuitable to ask of a man on his death bed.

“Thy charges of hom*osexuality are cleared,” he conceded. “By technicality. Thy charges of homicide remain.”

Gabriel seemed content with his convictions. “Well then. Which layer, Your Honor?”

Minos halted. He glared at his arm. A serpent timidly retracted a coil.

“Heresy. This is the most mercy I could extend unto thee.”

“Interesting,” hummed Gabriel. “I personally would have chosen Violence.”

“I am well aware.”

Gabriel lolled his head to the side, chuckling quietly against Minos’s chest.

Under his breath, Minos whispered, “Bloodthirsty brat.” He stroked Gabriel’s shoulder as it shook with laughter.

With the angel in his arms, limp and well-loved, it was so easy to forgive, and easier to forget.

For a long moment, Gabriel was quiet.

He said, “Any repentance I could offer would be meaningless, at this point.”

Minos nodded.

“God is dead,” admitted Gabriel. “As are your people. The fire is gone. And, still…” He turned to the city—to the neon lights, still burning—and gazed deep.

He laughed ruefully.

“What is this feeling?”

Outside, the cold wind howled.

The punishment that fit the crime—this tempest was Lust’s own contrapasso. A sleepless storm pushed and pulled Damned souls with no fixed destination. They had been lost in life, chasing passion deep into the dead of night, never again to emerge. Lust did not rest. An aimless, aching abyss: it ate, and it starved.

To lust was to want.

Gabriel tipped up his head. “Desire. It’s desire.” Excited, he said, “Desire, burning desire. For a better future, for truth, for justice, for—”

He coughed.

“For… what I desire,” said Gabriel. “As the will to fight is my own.”

“Well,” Minos said, “then I am glad to have gotten through to thee.” More quietly: “If only now.” He sighed. The angel stood so proud on his last legs of life. “Imagine, Gabriel—if thou hadst listened!”

God above, if he had listened. It made his heart ache to imagine. But he did, and all too vividly: thoughts of Gabriel, parading the halls of his palace; of guiding Gabriel through his city; of Gabriel, relaxed, reading from his libraries; of Gabriel pushed back against a soft bed. Gabriel, the beautiful angel beside him—the brilliant knight, bound to his blades, fighting for his kingdom.

The boundaries between despair and desire blurred once more. God—why? Why did he not listen?

“… You should have known better, Minos. Irrationality cannot be reasoned with. Not when it has a sword at its side.” Gabriel paused. He said, “You should’ve fought back.”

“Sisyphus tried.”

“And you did not.”

Minos sighed,“Sisyphus.” He pet the laurels of Gabriel’s helmet. “The man would have had my head mounted, hadst thou not taken his.”

(To himself—Gabriel whispered, “Head? Mounted?”)

Unprompted, Minos shouted to the ceiling, “O Sisyphus, it should have been thee! Thine own heavy artillery against me!” He turned to Gabriel. “’Tis what I deserve.”

Gabriel stilled. Then he slowly wriggled out of Minos’s arms. He reached to grab his armor, discarded beside the couch.

There Minos sat. He miserably pressed his palms against his crown, and he spoke only because he did not know how to stop.

“No, I could not have fought back. Lust never did manufacture weaponry.” Minos said, “But Sisyphus—O, Sisyphus—he knew my city. Knew our factories, our technologies. Indeed, in my travels to Greed, I had boasted them. Lavished him with all these ideas. I knew how he hungered.” Minos shook his head. “A tease, I had been. But the man loved the chase!” He crossed his arms, saying, “Still. I wanted no hand in arming his Insurrection. No, I had never truly intended to. I wanted not to be held culpable by the Council.”

Minos groaned.

“The last day I saw him alive… O, what had I declared to dear Sisyphus?”

Gabriel silently glanced over.

“An embargo!” Minos threw his arms in the air, exasperated. “On all trade to Greed.” He explained, “’Twas what I had been mandating that day.”

“M—” Gabriel choked. “Man dating?”

Minos slumped back. “I am not proud of myself, no.”

For a long moment, he paused. “You’re not?”

Gabriel kept quiet. He faced away from Minos. There was a small click as he latched his cuirass on.

“Well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it,” said Gabriel. “Men dating.”

Minos whipped his head around. “Gabriel—”

“But you should have armed the militias, yes.”

The briefest silence. Then Minos nearly hurt himself laughing. Gabriel said nothing—he proudly flicked his wings and sat next to him.

What a burdensome set of armor he wore. Minos hoped he would not spend the last stretch of his life wrestling it back on. As Gabriel reclined on the couch, he silently helped slip his greaves back on, then his boots. Gabriel murmured, “Thank you.” A serpent had started to slither from Minos’s arm towards his slender ankles—Minos sissed and smacked its head away.

Gabriel awkwardly cleared his throat. He stood up.

“King Minos,” he began. “It was a pleasure to”—he fumbled for words—“speak with you, under better terms.”

“Hmph.” Minos declared, “Indeed, Archangel Gabriel.”

Gabriel gripped his hand to fit his gauntlets. “But, if you’ll allow me to it, I have unfinished business.”

Minos gave a hum of intrigue.

“With the Council,” he continued, idly strapping his pauldrons back in place. “I’m going to kill them.” Gabriel said, “I’m going to kill them all.”

“I see.” Minos stroked a serpent that had reared its scaly head. “To Treachery, then.”

Outside, Gabriel scavenged the streets to find his swords. Splendor sat below an advertisem*nt-plastered signpost. Justice was harder to find. It seemed they had both lost it—until Minos spotted it beneath the palm of the Corpse. The wind must have taken it there.

Pointing it to the sky, Gabriel announced, “The blade of Justice will bend for the Council no more. For their oppression of Mankind, and their injustices in the name of God, I will strike them—”

“Your belt, Gabriel.”

He glanced down. Minos held it up to the air. The winds had somehow taken it into an alleyway.

“… Ah.” Gabriel fluttered back and fumbled for it. He snapped the metal around his waist, sighing, muttering an awkward ‘thank you’.

The angel took to the air on his pretty wings. Gabriel glided easily on the gales of Lust. Minos lingered his look, wanting almost to reach out. And for a moment, Gabriel caught his gaze. He stared deep. Then he vanished in a flash of light. No—Gabriel could not be bound. Certainly not when there was blood to spill.

And there went his little revolutionist.

The last inhabitant of Lust was gone. His city was dead. Minos sighed. He sat in the empty streets and stared towards the skies.

Not a minute passed.

Another flash of light. Gabriel, rematerializing still, stammered, “Would you, uh—” He took a breath, flusteredly fiddling with his gloves. “You wouldn’t… want to accompany me, would you?”

Minos barked out a laugh.

“Forgive me,” he hurried out. “It was a foolish request—what with you and your, uh…” Gabriel twirled his hand indistinctly. “Pacifism.”

“No.” Rising to his feet, Minos stretched his arms to the skies. “No, I shall spill their gore gladly.”

Gabriel lit up—as in, his wings burst with light. His delight, evident and ardent, was… a tad disturbing. (A tad endearing.) Minos simply must accompany him. An obsession with the sanguinary arts as exorbitant as his should best be dissuaded, or at least supervised.

For now, the fire was alive. Gabriel had stolen it from the corpse of God—the eagles would get to his liver eventually. What else to do but burn out in a blaze of glory?

It needed to be horrific. It had to be beautiful, and it had to cause death. Upon Heaven, Earth.

Splendor was in his hand. A head in the other. Blood had been splattered across his chest, his helmet—his hands. Crouched over the corpse of a Councilor was Gabriel. Looking to Minos, he held its head up proudly. The decapitated heap below was the last of them.

Catching his breath, Gabriel said, “You work surprisingly well with a sword.”

“’Tis not my weapon of choice,” Minos replied, weighing the hilt of Justice in his hand, “but a pen spills ink. Not blood.”

When Archangel Gabriel held up the head to Heaven’s masses, Minos watched out of sight. The auditorium of God had erupted in equal screams and singsong. Some supported the cause. The others feared Gabriel. When he excitedly showed him through the bloodstained halls of Heaven, Minos listened with trained attention. They received a number of nervous glances from the many-eyed angels that saw them. They discussed policy and plans in the short time he had left. Gabriel would later lead Minos to the throne room and bow on his knees.

God was dead. The throne was empty. And Heaven still needed a king.

Kingdom Come - karmatens - ULTRAKILL (Video Game) [Archive of Our Own] (2024)

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